Marketing boss Louise Robertson shares her insights on effective agile marketing today
In today’s ever-changing marketing landscape, it’s more important than ever to be agile. That means being able to adapt your marketing strategy quickly and efficiently in response to changes in the market or your target audience.
Louise Patterson, Global Marketing Director at Pattern Insurance, has over 20 years of experience in the marketing industry, having pivoted from running a larger in-house marketing team using waterfall marketing to operating within a smaller team using agile marketing.
In this blog post, we’ll share some of Louise’s insights into agile marketing. We’ll discuss why agile marketing is important as well as how to implement it…
Delivering value to the customer
Whereas before we could rely on one piece of anchor content to generate engagement, now you can’t rely on any one piece to bring in leads. We find the most successful types of content are the research pieces, however, a single stand-alone blog can’t be guaranteed to generate a lead.
Today in marketing we need to consider the holistic personas we’re targeting and demonstrate the value we can give them. Marketing is no longer about declaring who you are but rather how you are adding value to their life and giving them information that they don’t already have.
To be truly effective, this requires creating a personalised experience and building trust between the customer and brand.
Whilst creating anchor content is necessary, it has to be brought to life – at events, podcasts, email campaigns etc – and it has to move with the market.
People don’t trust you when you promise to revolutionise their life. Rather, through delivering content that delivers genuine value to the receiver, you can build a trusting relationship.
Forced partnerships never work. They just result in time wasted and lots of back and forth before any idea is actioned. Louise advises to look for the red flags from the beginning, no brand is so important that it’s worth overlooking an uncooperative partnership dynamic as this will only continue over time.
As a marketer, we should be looking to be much more creative than just wanting a brand’s logo and name. Delve into where they are on their organisational journey and develop a proper thought leadership piece to talk to them about, as opposed to just approaching them to demand a quote from their boss and use of their logo. Create your own joint value proposition for you and the brand that works. By approaching them with enthusiasm and a consolidated, tangible idea that offers a solution, you’re more likely to establish a valid partnership.
There’s been a change in marketing from the norm being large in-house teams using waterfall marketing to smaller teams using agile marketing. This means everything requires agile responses, which is great as it enables change. A waterfall marketing plan spanning a year could be failing for six months and still be on that trajectory of failure without any action to change its course. Whereas now you can trial a tactic, monitor results and engagement, and then make an informed decision on the strategy for the upcoming months.
Developing a marketing plan every three months allows you to remain agile. Whilst it is useful to have a wider framework for the year with an annual plan of events, topics to cover etc, remaining stuck in a two- or three-year plan will not allow for agility. Three-months is the optimum time to allow for the reviewing, replacing, and sharing of relevant content.
The beauty of agile marketing is you learn so much, so fast!
How to apply learnings from tests into practice
Louise recommends updating the company’s total slide deck every month – taking out slides that are no longer relevant and adding in new ones that are. This means that there is always an introduction deck ready with the correct tools available to ensure that knowledge is being passed on within the company.
She also suggests having a key facts live document which the entire team can contribute to and edit. It’s useful for anyone new that starts, but also serves as a reminder of brand identity and messaging, as well as any new direction the company takes. By saving it once a month, you ensure you have the most up-to-date and relevant information on-hand so everyone can be aligned with the company’s messaging.
By having regular all-hands meetings to discuss what happened last month and what’s happening this month across different teams, as well as sales and wins – an open conversation is established within the organisation.
Currently Louise’s team is doing 75% planning vs 25% anchor content. She explains that when doing her content plan, there will be anchor content i.e. a blog, meta tags etc, then they will consider how it’s going to look on the company page on LinkedIn, and then how the team can share it, as well as what the correct words and hashtags to use are. Messaging and wording needs to be clear within the team, so they know how to share correctly. They need to know that they need to like a post and comment within the first 45 minutes of going live for it to gain traction. It’s crucial that in-house teams know what to say and have a constant line of communication to stay abreast of upcoming events and moments to mark.
Louise advises to always lead the team. Old-fashioned marketers used to just supply a slide deck and expect a task to be actioned. Now, we have Google Hangout, Zoom, etc, and can communicate tasks more clearly so everyone involved understands the assignment.
Make your Sales team your best friend.
Have a compulsory weekly lead generation meeting for different teams to share what they’re working on and how they’re getting leads. Monthly meetings won’t cut it – you need to be attached at the hip to your sales team.
There is often big confusion over which leads are marketing ones or sales qualified. The great thing about having a good CRM is you can trace the emails and see where they originated.
Marketing used to allow for more ‘fluff’ and vanity metrics. The focus was on reach and numbers, but now for marketing to be effective – it must lead to engagement.
Collaboration and adaptation
At Drew + Rose, we have built an entire model around performance marketing and bridging the gap between sales and marketing.
This requires a shift in mindset from thinking of yourself as merely a marketing director who’s delivering things like content and leads, to thinking of yourself as a financially responsible individual on the board that has to bring money in – and leads are the start of that journey.
Today’s type of content requires more collaboration, previously we would pivot tactic by creating new content like a brochure, website, or landing page etc, whereas now it is more important to join forces with the wider team.
This changing culture from so-called ‘fluffy’ marketing to performance marketing takes time. The key is in building a safe space in those cross-team meetings. So even if your MQL gets rejected, it’s not considered problematic as the fact you’ve got the lead and are learning from it is important. Whether you’re learning that the search term or the ad isn’t working because it’s not filtering out or the value isn’t high enough or it’s in the wrong country – these are all valuable insights. To create this environment, where there‘s a safe space for these learnings to be made, requires collaboration and patience – and it needs to come from the top.
Everybody has budget constraints and in order to stay on top of them, marketeers need to be adaptable and embrace the new technologies that are available to us. Tools such as Chat GPT and Grammarly etc can be a great asset for time management and efficiency.
The final thought to leave on is that, ultimately, you need to trust your team – if you’ve got a solid team and good suppliers then you can deliver strong, agile marketing campaigns.